Off-Fossil Transition to Reach ‘Point of No Return’ in 2035, But Not Soon Enough for IPCC Target
The global shift to non-fossil energy will reach the point of no return by 2035, fossil analysts at Wood Mackenzie conclude in a recent report, creating an “unstoppable” shift off fossil fuels. But a faster transition will still be needed to hit the decarbonization targets set out two weeks ago in the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways.
“The transition is inevitable and powerful,” Greentech Media writes, citing the report. “But WoodMac’s projections are still far behind the emissions scenarios that scientists say are necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change,” with renewables delivering 70 to 85% of the world’s electricity by mid-century.
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
By contrast, Wood Mackenzie’s analysis shows renewables meeting 20% of global electricity demand in 2035, up from 7% today, Greentech notes. “A year after the 2035 inflection point, WoodMac forecasts a peak in oil demand, with electric motors accounting for 15 to 20% of all miles traveled in buses, cars, trucks, or on bicycle,” and electric vehicles eliminating six million barrels per day of oil consumption by 2040. Consumption today stands at about 100 million barrels.
“The inflection point could come earlier as policy gets more ambitious,” Greentech adds, citing the report, “or if technologies such as advanced energy storage and microgrids take root earlier than current projections.”
But although things might well accelerate, “stopping this transition seems highly unlikely,” the report stresses. “It’s going to happen,” as wind, solar, and electric vehicles assert their “high disruptive potential in power markets.”
While Wood Mackenzie recently built a new power and renewables that includes Greentech Media’s parent company, GTM Research, “the report is significant in that it’s coming from an oil and gas consulting group,” Greentech notes.